Love is messy. Like most of us, Chris Robley is acutely aware of this fact, and he acknowledges that it’s even worse when more than two parties are involved. “In love triangles, there are no even splits,” the singer says.
But just because the subject matter is messy doesn’t mean the medium has to be. Robley’s “1+1+1=3,” which features his PDX-based Fear of Heights (including Vortex’s own Arthur Parker on bass), is driving, energetic and straightforward rock. The track moves along at a good clip, punctuated by a strong rhythm section, hand claps and keys. At points, though, the sturdy foundation drops out to feature a simultaneously unexpected and appropriate flugelhorn-guitar doubling—the perfect representation of the should-have-seen-that-coming turns we often find in romantic relationships. Pair these elements with Robley’s snarl on lines like, “You say we can't be both blameless and free / But they sound like the same damn thing to me,” and the song is instantly relatable in the frustrations it describes.
Recorded at The Secret Society during one of Robley’s visits to Oregon (Robley moved to the other Portland a few years ago) and mastered at Telegraph, the song is the first single off a yet-untitled EP that Robley hopes to have packaged by the fall. Keep your ears peeled before then, though, because Robley has plans to release most of the tracks individually first.